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Chiayi, Tainan to face water controls from March amid drought

02/18/2023 08:31 PM
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Recent water level of the Tsengwen Reservoir. Photo courtesy of South Region Water Resources Office Feb. 14, 2023
Recent water level of the Tsengwen Reservoir. Photo courtesy of South Region Water Resources Office Feb. 14, 2023

Taipei, Feb. 18 (CNA) Water pressure in Chiayi and Tainan will be lowered while supplies for certain commercial uses in Tainan will be limited starting March amid concerns over a drought, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Saturday.

The decision was made after Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花) met with the ministry's drought task force on Saturday to respond to the ongoing water shortage in the southern part of the island.

With the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) projecting a small chance of rain in the upcoming season, the MOEA said it had decided to increase Tainan and Chiayi's water conservation alerts starting March 1, with Chiayi under "yellow alert" and Tainan upgrading to the more severe "orange alert."

Under the yellow water supply alert, water pressure in Chiayi will be lowered during certain hours.

Meanwhile, with the severity of Tainan's alert increasing from yellow to orange, the supply of water for commercial use will be limited.

The MOEA said industrial users that consume more than 1,000 cubic meters of water on a monthly basis should aim to curb their use by 10 percent.

Industrial users consuming more than 1,000 cubic meters of water per day that fail to achieve a 10 percent reduction will have their water supply sealed off, the MOEA added.

Tech parks and industrialized zones will have usage reductions enforced and managed collectively by the MOEA's Industrial Development Bureau and Taiwan's National Science and Technology Council.

For nonindustrial businesses which consume over 1,000 cubic meters of water per month, such as swimming pools, car washes, saunas and aquatic therapy specialists, the monthly decrease target of 10 percent will be gradually increased to 20 percent.

The MOEA added that since monthly household water consumption typically does not exceed 1,000 cubic meters, Tainan households will continue to only have their water pressure lowered from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next day rather than have their supply limited.

The MOEA went on to announce the introduction of a 2023 program to steadily supply water to Taiwan's southern regions for the sake of drought relief, whereby an estimated 136,000 cubic meters of water will be additionally provided to the south every day before the end of April.

The program, introduced on Feb. 16 by new Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), will aim to strengthen the allocation of water by location, up the water output of water recycling plants and increase the amount of wells, the MOEA said.

The ministry said climate change had drastically altered rainfall patterns in Taiwan, with the southern parts of the country taking the most severe hit due to the southern reservoirs' dependency on typhoons.

According to the CWB, Taiwan has experienced over 1,200 days without a typhoon making landfall.

Additionally, the last rainfall that replenished an effective amount of water to the south was over 550 days ago.

The drought task force was founded on Nov. 24 last year to respond to the increased amount of dry spells.

The MOEA said the task force had since successfully aided the nation in conserving up to 660 million cubic meters of water through weekly strategic meetings and response plans.

(By Hsieh Fang-yu and James Lo)


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